Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to Find Free Textures to Use in Second Life

When I first came to Second Life and started to build things, the permissions that some texture makers put on their products were confusing, and it wasn't always clear whether you could use the textures on things you wanted to sell. Since at that time I was making things I wanted to sell, I decided to make my own textures.

Later I started offering some of the textures I made on the Marketplace as freebies. It was gratifying at first when dozens of people ordered them, but humbling when, after a few days, somebody let me know that they had opened the box and found it was empty. Most people were apparently just clicking on 'free' without looking at what they had gotten. After I made sure there was something in the box I added another separate texture to my store on the Marketplace, and gave it a price of 10 Lindens. Absolutely nobody bought it. It was obvious that it wasn't my textures that people wanted, but free textures.

I decided to prepare a package with directions and landmarks to places in Second Life where you could get free textures, and sell the bundle for one Linden*

Here is a blog version of the notecard.

-----------------How to Find Free Textures in Second Life---------------------------------------------------

Terrain texture as camouflage

You already have a lot of free textures in your inventory. Just scroll down to "Library" and then go to the different texture folders. The terrain textures, which match the ground in different parts of Second Life,  are particularly useful for camouflage.

Other Official Textures: 

Free Textures Offered At Linden Sites

Linden Communities:

 If you are a Premium member you have the option of choosing a home in one of the Linden communities, and each community has a spot where you can pick up the textures used in construction.  Anyone can visit the Infohub in those neighborhoods to pick up a copy.

 Tahoe Infohub is at Tahoe Springs. The Tahoe textures are rustic and are suitable for cabins and A-frames.
Only three textures are displayed, but there are actually dozens of different ones in each package.

   Elderglen infohub is in Elderglen. These textures are more earthy - good for hobbit holes and wizard's houses.  

   Shareta Osumai infohub. The textures here have an Asian theme, and are good for Japanese builds. There are some very nice rug and curtain patterns.

   Meadowbrook infohub is in Bucksnort. These textures are more modern. There are also two sculpt maps to make a simple lamp.

Meadowbrook Texture Kiosk
Linden Textures Made for New Continents:

Nautilus: When Nautilus was created the moles set up a freebie site at The Market. This one offers not only several containers of free textures, but many decorative objects and houses.

Free textures at Nautilus

Some of the free objects and textures at The Market

Bay City:

In Bay City there are two different places you can pick up free textures, houses, and objects.

Bay City Freebie Site
And another Bay City Freebie Site with a display of free houses in the background.

Some of the many free items at Bay City - coffee pot, shell, sandcastle, antique microscope, and mole hill, shown on four prims with textures from the same box.


Zindra is one of the newest continents in Second Life. It was made as a place for "adult" content, so I don't go there often, so it took me a while to find the freebie vender there. Below see picture of the vendor, and also of a "Dangomushi" building of 51 prims from the vendor.

Linden Department of Public Works: A good resource for textures used by the Linden Department of Public Works is the Mole Mart at Leafminer.
Textures used in road construction, plus road signs and other useful things.

Textures Made by Individuals:

Many individuals have donated their textures to the community, and boxes of these textures can be found all over. One person who has created hundreds of free textures for Second Life  is Torley Linden. You can find his textures in several places, but I recommend getting them at Torley Island just for the fun of going there.

The texture dispenser at Torley Island

Yadni's : One of the most venerable resources for free textures (and everything else) was Yadni's Junkyard. Besides the tons of free resources there were two walls showing the history of Yadni's and the growth of Second Life. Yadni's Junkyard was in Leda.. Alas, Yadni's junkyard disappeared in June. Yadni himself has apparently moved on to other virtual worlds. He will be missed. I am hoping to put some of the things I got at Yadni's as freebies on the Marketplace in Second Life.

Each of those little dots was a box full of stuff. The red beam was a teleport beam. 

Yadni sculpture. That little dot to the right is a person.

The Nix Bazaar at Stillman has an interesting collection of freebies. Copies of old library inventory are also available there.  I found several boxes of freebie textures on the second floor on the west side.

Newcomer Island:  I found a huge variety of textures displayed on "New Resident Island".  

Click the picture of each structure, and get all the textures used on both the interiors and exteriors of the houses!

Unofficial Freebie Sites:

Dreams or Sojourner's Land. These sims are kept up as a living memorial to The Sojourner and are the site of regular building contests and other events.  There is a shop which has items for sale, but you can find some good free textures as well. Please donate if you can.

It's not clear from the photo, but the statue is as tall as a three-story building.

Textures as Hunt Prizes: 

If you want to see what the leading-edge texture artists are doing, and want to familiarize yourself with the wonderful texture resources there are in Second Life,  I would recommend joining a few "texture hunts" to visit different locations. Since dates and locations change, try looking in a place like the Timeless Textures to see if there are any current hunts** .

Edited 9-11-16: USC Textures is no longer there. Timeless Textures has moved to on the Razors Edge Sim. USC still has a Marketplace store.

Aley Mart: Arcadia Asylum was a former resident who created and gave away over 3,000 items while she was in Second Life. She has moved on to other virtual worlds, but her fans set up a site on the marketplace where you can get an example of almost everything she made. After you have found the listings, search for 'textures'.

NCI: This is a volunteer-run organization with several locations. Great place to get advice and freebies.
Free textures at NCI

That's it for now. I'm sure there are many more places out there, but these should give you a good start.

Now that you have a gazillion free textures, I would recommend you get one or more texture organizers. I suggest trying out some of the free ones at first, to find out if they meet your needs.

Happy Hunting!

Note: Even the best-run freebie sites may inadvertently have included some textures that the creator meant to be for sale. If you have a question about "free to use" it is a good idea to IM the creator and make sure. 

*A "Linden" is a unit of currency used in Second Life. I think the current exchange rate is about 260 Lindens to the dollar.
**A 'hunt" is an event sponsored by a group of merchants or an association. You look for an object in a store or location, and when you click on it, it gives you the landmark to the next location, and there is usually a prize at each store or at the end of the hunt. The advantage to the merchant is that it gets customers into a store, the advantage to the 'hunter' is that they learn their way around and sometimes get really neat freebies. Look for "Full Perm" hunts.

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